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SAT

Unit 11: Lesson 3

Writing: Grammar

Writing: Syntax — Example

Watch David work through an SAT Writing: Syntax question.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user John  Tesla
    D is easier for me to understand. If you are talking about a weed and a state, you can deduce that you are talking about two different things and that Valerian, ultimately is the weed, which you said so yourself.

    If you can deduce this, wouldn't it make sense to use the least words as possible and not waste everyone's time with A?

    Does syntax and grammar always make sense when it comes to readability and communicating effectively or can the opposite be true?
    (15 votes)
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    • leaf grey style avatar for user Alex
      Sure, in this case it's rather obvious. But in more ambiguous cases like "Considered a hard worker, John and Adam ..." or "Considered small and cute, the dog and the cat", you aren't necessarily able to figure out which one the phrase applies to (not the greatest examples but you get the point). Thus the convention that the phrase applies to the former term rather than the latter term, to avoid confusion.
      (28 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user nene3rd1
    I believe this answer is wrong. I have asked multiple English teachers and they all agree that the answer is D. A could not be the answer because of the beginning clause. A sentence cannot start like this: "A flowering herb used as a medicinal plant for centuries, valerian is considered..."
    It may have been correct if it was like this: "The flowering herb that has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries, Valerian, is considered..." Answer choice D seems like the best answer, even though it could be more clear.
    (4 votes)
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    • leaf grey style avatar for user Alex
      Sure, answer A could use some improvement. However, the problem with answer D is that the clause "considered an invasive weed" refers to Connecticut in the next clause, rather than Valerian. Sure, you could figure which word it refers to by context here, but it were something more ambiguous you'd have to assume that it refers to the first word, which is "Connecticut".
      Answer A, even though it flows weirdly, still has the clause point to the correct noun, which is Valerian.
      (22 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Donsharnay Saunders
    Does the elimination process work better than knowing the answer right away?
    (6 votes)
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    • starky ultimate style avatar for user Christopher Lee
      It's a smart idea to cover up the answers, make your own guess, then look, find the closest, and check the others to make sure they don't sound right, this is a good method to eliminate many wrong answers, so essentially, use your conscience, and then the elimination process
      (14 votes)
  • leafers sapling style avatar for user Ojal Rayamajhi
    option c seems fine to me, how is it incorrect?
    (0 votes)
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  • duskpin tree style avatar for user maggiem1900
    I am literally confused because I'm not sure what's wrong with answer D. It felt more logical to me than A. Or maybe that's me. Does anyone know what the problem of D is?

    ( Also this video went way to fast)
    (3 votes)
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    • duskpin sapling style avatar for user Lin Gh.
      D is this sentence:
      Considered an invasive weed, Connecticut banned Valerian, a flowering herb that has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries, in 2004.

      What is considered an invasive weed? The Connecticut? The invasive weed banned Valerian? The sentence doesn't make sense. The invasive weed should be an attribute for Valerian, not the Connecticut.

      (Also, you'll have less than a minute to solve these questions. And I think speed might help you think faster)
      (7 votes)
  • piceratops tree style avatar for user obaimahmoudsat
    I have a question.
    Many teachers explained to me that any phrase that is placed in between two commas can be considered insignificant or if you skip/remove it the sentence would still make sense. So how would option A be the correct choice?
    I assumed option B would be correct because if we were to remove "but it was banned in 2004" the sentence would still make perfect sense. On the other hand, if we did that with option A the sentence would be incorrect.
    Please help me understand this better. Thank you.
    (5 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      You're correct in what you say, but you might have mistaken the main past of option A for a side phrase. The part in the middle that is enclosed by commas, "Valerian is considered an invasive weed in the state of Conneticut", is a full independent clause. The additional bits of information in the front and back would be phrases.
      B is grammatically correct, but doesn't make logical sense. As David says, "but" denotes two conflicting ideas, but the fact that Valerian is invasive and Connecticut banning it aren't conflicting. Because of this, we can eliminate it.
      Hope this helps.
      (2 votes)
  • mr pants teal style avatar for user Anita
    I feel that in answer choice D, it is clear that Connecticut is banning Valerian. A is very confusing, D is more simple so I chose D.
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user blaze lenarz
    So if a word follows after a coma "," the coma is referring to that place or thing? Such as "...beautiful thing, Utah..." the coma is referring to Utah?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Keily Tinoco
    "Valeriana" should not be put in capital letters for being a noun?
    (1 vote)
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  • leafers sapling style avatar for user minsui0423
    I didn;t get why C is not the correct answer.
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

- [Instructor] Valerian, a flowering herb, is considered an invasive weed by the state of Connecticut, which banned it in 2004. It has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. Which choice most effectively combines the underlined sentences? All right, so, we know from this, this stem here, that what we're working with is a syntax question. So, it's asking us to combine these two sentences where the period is, and it's asking us to do that in a way that is effective and grammatical. So it's not just about finding something that makes sense, it's also about finding something that is the most elegant option. So let's go through these answer choices. A, a flowering herb used as a medicinal plant for centuries, valerian is considered an invasive weed in the state of Connecticut, which banned it in 2004. Nothing about that looks off to me, let's hang on to that for later. Okay, option B, considered an invasive weed in Connecticut, but it was banned in 2004, valerian is a flowering herb that has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. So what weirds me out about that, about this option, is the but it was banned in 2004 part. Because of the use of the word but. Like, but is usually used as a disjuncture, right. Here's a thing that happened, but here's something different. So, considered an invasive weed in Connecticut, but it was banned in 2004, doesn't make sense to me because these two things go together. It's considered an invasive weed and it was banned. Like it was banned because it was considered an invasive weed. So I'm gonna say this doesn't make sense to me, I'm gonna cross it off. Option C, a flowering herb that has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries, Connecticut banned valerian in 2004, considering it an invasive weed. This is a modifier-placement error, this is a dangling modifier. I'm gonna show you what I mean. This, this descriptive phrase here, a flowering herb that has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries, is being used to apply to the state of Connecticut. When we know from context that it's actually talking about valerian. We know that Connecticut is a U.S. state, it's not a flowering herb. So let's cross this one off, we know that's not right either. D, considered an invasive weed, Connecticut banned valerian. Now we know from this last example, this one's doing the exact same thing. Connecticut, considered an invasive weed, I don't think so. It's a very fine state. But let's read through just to make sure. Connecticut banned valerian, a flowering herb that has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries, in 2004. Yeah, so this is committing the same error. So we're gonna cross that off. Let's go back, review. A flowering herb used as a medicinal plant for centuries, valerian is considered an invasive weed in the state of Connecticut, which banned it in 2004. Check for subject-verb agreement, looks good to me. These commas make sense to me. Nothing seems out of place, so I'm gonna go with A. Remember, when you're combining sentences in a syntax question, you're also looking for something that is logically and rhetorically sound.